Looking back at the Cincinnati Bengals’ Week 3 loss to the Green Bay Packers and determining why they fell short in the 27-24 overtime defeat.
It was a game effort for most of the afternoon, but despite finally finding some offensive success and picking up six sacks of Aaron Rodgers, the Cincinnati Bengals find themselves at 0-3 through three weeks of the 2017 season.
With things going so favorably for them throughout most of the game, what went so wrong that they allowed Green Bay to somehow steal away a win?
3. Bullock’s Blunder
Cincinnati came out of the gates strong in the scoring department, putting up touchdowns on two of their first three drives before their defense provided only the second interception-return touchdown of Aaron Rodgers’ career.
21 points is a quality start, but it was likely never going to be enough against this Green Bay team. While their defense is a major work in progress, their offense continues to be among the best in the league even with a lacking run game and injuries hijacking an already-weakened offensive line.
As the early offense began to dry up for Cincinnati, they needed to find a way to add more points to the board. On their second drive of the second half, a line-drive punt by Green Bay and a good return by Alex Erickson let the Bengals start off in Packers territory, and an 11-yard reception by A.J. Green left them in prime position to add some more points even after an Andy Dalton sack.
From 48 yards out, kicker Randy Bullock proceeded to miss the attempt, leaving Cincinnati precariously up just 21-14 with more than a quarter of the game remaining.
He did eventually make his next attempt, but the miss proved to be a difference-maker: rather than holding a 10-point lead with under four minutes remaining, the Bengals were up just seven. With only one score needed, Aaron Rodgers led Green Bay 75 yards down the field in 12 plays to tie things up and send the game into overtime.
Though Cincinnati would win the coin toss, the offense would fail to go anywhere before handing Rodgers a chance to take the game — something which he did with aplomb.
Based on how the game played out, those three points Bullock left on the field would’ve prevented overtime from even coming into the fray, helping hand Cincinnati a solid victory before Rodgers could summon up his magic. Instead, his miss kept the door wedged open just enough for the Green Bay quarterback to steal away victory from the jaws of defeat.
The key miss — along with former draft pick Jake Elliott’s 61-yard game winner for the Eagles on the same afternoon — could make you wonder if Cincinnati made the wrong choice at kicker. It’s too early to tell for sure, but one untimely miss shouldn’t completely undermine the decision (especially when Elliott has already missed two kicks of his own).
Looking at the results of the two games however, it’s hard to not second-guess the choice both for now and the future of the position in Cincinnati.